Studying and interning abroad in college is one of the best decisions I've made and I am eternally grateful to have had that experience. I studied abroad with CEA at University of Westminster in London not too long ago, taking a couple travel internships along the way, while still being able to travel on the weekends and during school holidays. These were some of the best experiences of my life, studying in a classroom where I could hear multiple accents, catapulting my career, immersing myself in European culture. I will be the first to admit that although I did travel, I most certainly didn't do it in style, except for the couple of trips me friend's parents took us on. I wanted to see as many places as possible while I was over there, and sacrifices were made.
I, like many study abroad and internship abroad students, knew in the back of my mind that I would not be able to travel for a while. I would be entering the workforce soon after with an entry-level salary, moving international flights to low priority on the budget. Time passes and I focused on my career, then ran into the issue of having too many vacation days to roll over, some disposable income and a forgotten sense of wanderlust.
And so, I bought a round-trip flight out of Dublin then some Ryanair flights to hop around Portugal, taking some of my survival skills from study abroad and went overseas again as an official adult. Let me tell you, things have definitely changed. Here's how to travel as an employed adult, because let's face it, it's you're basically now a millionaire.
As a study + internship abroad student: "You mean this fiver?"
As a working adult: "I read about these three restaurants in Lisbon and these five in Porto. Oh, and my friend told me about this place that looks over the entire city. And I need to get Christmas presents while I'm there."
Hopefully you had a budget when you were overseas the first time and hopefully you still have a budget now, but it is definitely nice to be able to splurge a little bit and get unique and thoughtful gifts for your family.
As a study + internship abroad student: "Let's see, I can wear these pants for four days, I'll put on three sweaters for the flight, I'll buy toothpaste when I'm there, who needs socks?"
As a working adult: "I could live out of this carry-on for three months! I'll even pack that extra pair of shoes."
I've always been a frugal packer, bringing one backpack for an entire week hopping around Berlin, Prague and Rome as a study abroad student. I am so glad I don't have to do that anymore, but I am definitely thankful for the space-saving packing tips I learned back then. This time I brought a dress that I didn't even wear!
As a study + internship abroad student: to attendant at check-in desk, "I can offer you a safety pin, some loose aspirin, a ten dollar bill and four two euro coins."
As a working adult: "Go ahead, book the extra leg room, you can even bring a blanket"
Flying isn't different per se than when you were jetting off to Morocco for the weekend, I still love me a good flight deal, but at least now you don't have to be so stingy. You also have a new respect for people in the airline industry, maybe you'll even make friends with your flight attendants.
As a study + internship abroad student: *Brings up Google* How long can a human being last without food?
As a working adult: "I came here for the food and I am eating three meals a day."
Now that you have a full-time job and a routine, travelling can be a shock to your system. You didn't notice before, but you now legitimately get as hangry as your dad used to and now you understand his pain. Also, now that you are able to support your own trip abroad, you are eating three or more meals a day, coffee, snacks and drinks included and it is glorious.
As a study + internship abroad student: "There's three of us, lets check in under one name and share a twin-sized bed."
As a working adult: "Ooh, this boutique hotel is Instagram-worthy and is run by three retired women. I'm going to support a local business."
You never have to stay in a hostel again and that is one of life's greatest blessings.
Making Friends (and Networking)
As a study + internship abroad student: "There are eight of us in this dorm, did we all just become family?"
As a working adult: Scoping out the tables at the restaurant to see which seat is next to some friendly looking locals and has prime people-watching in case you can't strike up a conversation.
You don't know whether or not yo go in for the two-cheek kiss or a handshake, but that's okay, you'll become friends anyway. And now that you're in the working world, you can't help but network with fellow walking tour attendees.
Hanna Neitzke is CEA’s Audience Growth & Engagement Manager. She studied Marketing at the University of Westminster with CEA in London, England in 2014.
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